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Shannon Schuren Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Virtue of Sin (2019)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Shannon Schuren is a young adult author best known for her debut novel “The Virtue of Sin.” While she has come into fame with her novel, she still works a day at a public library where she is in charge of the children’s library. When she is not working at the library, she may be found her short stories and novels from a shed in her backyard. Her short fiction has been featured in several magazines and journals including Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Big Pulp, and Toasted Cheese Literary Journal. “The Virtue of Sin” was published by Philomel Books in 2019. The novel is a contemporary young adult that has as the lead protagonist a woman that was brought up in a patriarchal religious cult. She is then forced to marry and over the years has to learn to stand up for her rights and convictions. Schuren finds inspiration from her work from a variety of authors but mostly from authors who write about fierce, strong, and independent women that stand up for themselves and others. Some of her favorites include Mindy McGinnis’ “The Female of the Species,” Joy McCullogh’s “Blood Water Paint,” Courtney Summers’ “Sadie,” and Laurie Halse Anderson’s “Speak.” While she has never been a member of a cult-like her protagonist, she is obsessed with gluten-free pastries. She currently lives with her husband and children in Sheboygan Fall, Wichita.

Schuren had always wanted to become an author as she loved writing. She had kept a file of newspaper clippings, story ideas, and newspaper clippings that she thought would one day make a good novel. Over the years, the file kept getting bigger, and then on the eve of her thirtieth birthday, she realized she would never write her novel if she kept putting it off all the time. As such, she sat herself down and wrote the manuscript for her debut story titled “Bedeviled Glass.” It is a gothic/paranormal mystery featuring an architectural conservationist that was contracted to return to former glory an old stained-glass ceiling. While working on the project he learns that the disappearance of the previous owner of the house had to do with the ceiling. It took her three years to write the story but it taught her a lot about herself and the writing process and was the springboard she used to start querying agents.

In 2018, Shannon Schuren took part in NaNoWriMo where she wrote “How to Host a Ghost,” a middle-grade title. The lead protagonists of the novel were loosely based on her two daughters and since they were the inspiration for the novel, she decided to self-publish the novel on Lulu.com so that she could make the novels available as Christmas gifts. With the success of her earlier works, she went on to write several more titles most of them short fiction works that she submitted to contests. Her ideas tended towards long-form fiction even though she had only written short stories and so she decided to try her hand at novel writing. She began submitting her work to prompt based online contests most of which had a limit of 80,000 words per manuscripts. Some of the contests she submitted to included the WOW Quarterly and the Writer’s Weekly 24-hour fiction contests. Since she polished her writing skills at these contests, she has asserted that she owes a lot to the people that wrote the prompts, especially the summer prompt that was the springboard of her career.

The inspiration for her debut novel came while she was visiting with her sister in law at the Koreshan State Park in Florida. It is a utopian community that is inspired by an early 1800s cult that had been founded and had for a brief moment made the place their headquarters. She made a lot of notes when she got home and for several months she let it percolate while she worked on a different manuscript. Four months in, she had a vivid dream that she knew she had to put into her novel. It is a scene where the lead protagonist falls in love with a boy but then is pressured into marrying another. It took her about four months to write the first draft of the novel though she has over the years improved her writing speed. She finished writing the manuscript at the tail end of November 2013. In 2014 she attended a writing retreat where she met Linda, a woman she would later become friends with as they critiqued each other’s work. In the beginning, she did not know what she was writing and hence there was a lot of back and forth editing and changing. Finally, she got her agent and after a few weeks of revamping, the manuscript was sent to the editor and the novel was finally published in 2019.

Shannon Schuren’s debut novel “The Virtue of Sin” is a compelling novel about breaking free, standing up, and speaking out in the mold of Educated by Tara Westover and as such is perfect for young adult readers. The lead protagonist of the novel is a woman named Miriam, a resident of New Jerusalem. The city is a haven from the depravity and sins of the world since it is set in a remote location out in the desert. Inside its gates and under the eye of its leader and founder Daniel, Miriam is assured of her safety. Even if she cannot be allowed as a woman to air her opinions when she wants to, she is cared for and knows that it is the best place she could ever be. She is overjoyed when it is announced that she is to marry Caleb since she had always loved and admired him and had hoped to one day be with him. But then there is a glitch in the ceremony and she ends up with someone she does not love and she knows she can no longer be silent. For the first time in her life, she is questioning the decisions that the supreme leader had put in place but also if she truly belongs or even believes in what she has called home for years. Gaining some unlikely allies, she challenges the truths she had been taught ever since she was a child, determined to tear down any misinformation that was holding her down.

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